A blend of a fairy tale and history, “Wolf Wilder” by Katherine Rundell is set in 20th century tsarist Russia.
In the preface to her story, Rundell tells the reader that wolf pups were valued in the wealthy homes of Saint Petersburg because they were said to bring good fortune. But what if the wolf cannot be trained to live in the household or be tamed. It would be bad luck to kill the animal or release it. What choices are left to the family?This is the central story line of “Wolf Wilder.”
Feo and her mother are known to be wilders. They take wolves that have lived in the homes of the wealthy and train them to be able to live in the wild again.
Not everyone loves wolves as Feo and her mother do. General Rakov, in charge of the area’s army regiment, is known as a cruel, evil tyrant who imprisons innocent men and women, steals food and supplies from the local peasants, and wants to kill all wolves.
Feo and young people she has befriended plan to march to St. Petersburg and somehow free her mother.
Any young readers who have an interest in wolves would enjoy this story. The friendship that develops between Feo, her mother and the wolves is remarkable. Their intelligence and love for these women is beautifully told.